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Garry Monk: Swansea players not to blame over tunnel incident

Published 29/10/2015

Swansea manager Garry Monk has said his players were not to blame for the tunnel fracas at Aston Villa
Swansea manager Garry Monk has said his players were not to blame for the tunnel fracas at Aston Villa

Garry Monk says his Swansea players were innocent in the tunnel fracas which left Aston Villa captain Micah Richards facing an improper conduct charge.

Richards was charged by the Football Association following an incident at the end of Villa's 2-1 defeat to Swansea last Saturday.

The tunnel was seen to be shaking from side to side after the teams entered it at the final whistle, with Richards still angry following a first-half clash with Federico Fernandez.

Both Richards and Argentina defender Fernandez escaped punishment in relation to that incident as an FA panel judged that neither player had committed an act of violent conduct, but the England international was charged for continuing the argument after the match.

"From our side it was the right decision," Swansea manager Monk said after revealing he had spoken to his players this week about the tunnel incident.

"I wasn't in the tunnel at that point and came out of the dressing room when whatever happened had all finished.

"But in terms of my players, and I've spoken to them, there was nothing at all from our side.

"I can't speak for Aston Villa but everything from the Swansea side was fine."

Swansea's Villa Park victory was their first in six Premier League games and lifted the pressure on Monk, who had come under increasing scrutiny during that barren period.

But in the end it was Tim Sherwood who paid for defeat with his job last weekend, the Villa manager sacked the following morning with his side having failed to win in the league since the opening day of the season.

"Tim's a good guy, an honest guy, and someone I've got to know well over the last 18-19 months on the (Football Association of Wales) Pro Licence course," Monk said.

"It's sad to see a manager go but the nature of this job is you don't get time.

"It's something I imagine is going to happen continuously throughout the rest of the season."

Swansea's next test is against second-placed Arsenal on Saturday, Monk's men having completed the double over the Gunners last season for only the second time in the club's history.

Bafetimbi Gomis scored the winner in both of those games but the France striker has failed to score in his last six appearances and holds the unwanted record of being caught offside more than any other Premier League player this season.

"Defenders want to keep clean sheets, strikers want to score goals and midfielders wants to make assists and score goals themselves," Monk said.

"But it's about the collective here, never about one player.

"The way we've played - and take Aston Villa out of it - most of the games before we haven't performed as a collective.

"The pressure is on everyone, not one particular person, to perform in every single game.

"That's the standard and level we're at, but nobody puts more pressure on ourselves to perform.

"Everyone will go through periods where they dip. Whoever scores those goals doesn't really matter."

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